April 28, 2015
Improvements by the Johns Creek Fire Department have led a private rating company to substantially lower the city’s fire insurance rating, saving homeowners citywide an estimated $6 million a year in premiums.
The Insurance Service Office, (ISO) a private, non-profit company that grades fire departments nationally, has reduced Johns Creek’s ratings Class 4/9 rating in 2010 to an overall rating of 2 on a scale of 10. Lower numbers signify better fire protection. Insurance companies rely on the ratings premiums for homeowners and businesses.
For a home valued at $500,000, the savings in insurance premium costs will drop about $290 a year in Johns Creek. The new rating goes into effect July 1.
“These new ratings reflect the numerous enhancements and improvements by Johns Creek Fire Department to make us all safer,” said Mayor Mike Bodker. “We can all take comfort in knowing that Johns Creek has one of the finest departments in Georgia. We’ve always known they are exceptional, but now it’s been confirmed from the experts. We are all proud of their accomplishment and their commitment to the safety of the citizens in Johns Creek.”
Since 2010 when ISO last rated Johns Creek, the Fire Department has hired additional firefighters, purchased new trucks, instituted more training, upgraded record-keeping, and worked out an automatic aid agreement with Alpharetta Fire Department that reduced distance and response times to portions of northwest Johns Creek.
Only 33 of 995 fire departments statewide have a Class 2 rating or better. Nationwide, 1,014 of 48,675 departments have a Class 2 rating or better, meaning JCFD is in the top 2 percent of fire departments across the nation.
“This is huge,” said Fire Chief Jeff Hogan. “To make that kind of a jump is unheard of. This is more than just rewarding. This feels like winning a Heisman.”
The split 4/9 rating in 2010 indicates that some parts of the City were relatively close to fire stations for a Class 4 rating while those that received 9 were farther away. A small portion of northwest Johns Creek received a rating of 10, which was like having no fire protection at all. After the most recent review, those areas also received a Class 2 rating.
In determining a rating, the ISO conducts an in-depth examination on a variety of issues, such as resource allocation, training, records, water supply, numbers and locations of stations, driving distances, communications systems.